BREMERTON — Olympic College sophomore Josiah Westbrook has an uncanny knack to score from anywhere on the court.
Cutting through defenders and driving to the basket. Sure, why not.
Dribbling the ball downcourt, stopping and shooting from 3-point range.
A piece of cake.
But his best attribute is his court sense and ability to find an open teammate.
It’s also his preference.
“I came in to play point guard, and the point guard is supposed to be the floor general,” Westbrook said. “I want my guys to contribute as well.”
“By nature alone, he wants to facilitate,” said Craig Murray, Olympic College men’s basketball coach said. “Now, the gift he has is the ability to put the ball through the hole. He has the gift.”
Despite his affinity for assists, he leads the 9-2 Rangers with a 4.5 average, Westbrook has been rock solid from 3-point range.
It’s actually more shocking if the 19-year-old misses a three.
The Bellingham native leads the Northwest Athletic Conference in 3-point percentage at 58.3 and is tied for fifth in the conference in points averaging 21.5 in 11 games. He’s also shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line.
“The thing that helps that is he shoots good shots,” Murray said. “It’s very rare that I have to tell him that’s just not probably the shot we want right now.”
Another stat line Westbrook is proud of is the one he holds in the classroom. The team GPA sits at 3.5, and if Westbrook could go back in time, he’d tell his high school self to hit the books.
“Get your grades,” he said. “Get your grades in order. That’s the first thing I’d say.”
Westbrook shares point guard duties with freshman Ryan Mobley and is an extension of the coaching staff on the court.
“He’s playing solid, he’s playing solid,” Murray said, adding Westbrook’s best trait was taking on the leadership role the Rangers needed.
“Now he wants those guys to be able to follow him, and he’s doing the things that they want to follow him,” he said.
Westbrook played last season at Central Arizona in the National Junior College Athletic Association and made the first-round of the playoffs.
But Westbrook said it just didn’t feel like a good fit for him. He came to Bremerton to play with friend David Tserger. Westbrook and Tserger played AAU together, Washington Elite.
“I knew he was a really good player and I thought, ‘Yeah, why not team up at Olympic and do something crazy,’” he said.
His play has been exceptional enough to get noticed by Division I coaches.
Murray has been contacted by Montana, Santa Barbara, Lewis & Clark in Idaho and expects more by the end of the season.
“I want to go to the highest level possible,” he said. “I always want to be around basketball.”
While the individual accolades are fulfilling, Westbrook said he came to Olympic to help change the culture.
The Rangers’ mantra is to play as a team, and everyone will succeed.
“It’s bigger than one person,” Murray said. “It’s the name on the front of the jersey. At the end of the day for everyone to move on to this level you’ve got to show that you can play together and win as a group.”
Westbrook said it helps that the players genuinely care about one another, and that has led to victories on the court.
“I came here because I wanted to win basketball games. I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job,” he said. “We’re all pitching in. We’re all doing our part on the floor, and we have no egos on the team. Everybody likes playing with each other, and I feel like we have a really good system that we have going here at OC.”